Every American will be offered a free coronavirus vaccine by January 2021 – and most people who take up the offer will need two injections of it.
A report given to the US Congress Wednesday says the vaccination campaign may begin by the end of the year, and is likely to be in full-swing by January.
Anyone who takes up the offer of a free shot will be given two doses 21 to 28 days apart, with each patient being given both shots from the same vaccine manufacturer.
Multiple US pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer and Moderna are racing to develop their own shots, with results from ongoing final-phase testing expected as early as October.
The vaccination program has been described as a ‘marathon’ rather than a ‘sprint’, with officials warning it will be a much more complex task than distributing a regular flu vaccine.
They have warned supplies of the vaccine will initially be limited, with priority given to healthcare and frontline workers, as well as people particularly vulnerable to serious side effects if they were to catch coronavirus.
Billions of dollars of taxpayer funds approved by Congress and President Trump’s administration will be used to foot the bill for the mass-vaccination program, although polls show that up to half of Americans say they are wary of getting the shot.
If the multiple prototypes currently in late-stage testing succeed, they will be by-far the fastest vaccines ever to have been brought onto the market.
Scientists think that around 70% of the US population will need to take up the offer of a vaccine in order to kill-off Covid-19 infections.
US states and cities have been asked to submit plans on proposed vaccination programs, and how they plan to store the vaccines, which may require refrigeration or freezing.